The healthcare sector is rapidly changing and becoming increasingly complex as a result

Andrew HoskingPartner, Quantuma

Providers and commissioners of healthcare face the challenges of rising public expectations, an ageing population, advances in medical technology and a continuing drive to achieve greater efficiency in the delivery of public services.

Piling the pressure on a sector at the sharp end

The UK’s healthcare sector has performed relatively robustly in recent years and has typically remained resilient to the economic shocks that have adversely affected other sectors. However, the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has presented the sector with its biggest challenge yet, testing the mettle of healthcare businesses and key workers as never before. 

The outbreak had an immediate impact on the sector, triggering an overnight surge in demand for healthcare products and services and prompting the government to effectively issue the NHS with a blank cheque to fight the virus.

The frontline of the fight against COVID-19

Since the start of the crisis, hospital staff on the frontline have worked tirelessly to treat infected patients, while other providers operating in close-contact environments – like dentists – have been forced to close or drastically reduce service levels in order to comply with government safety guidelines. Care homes have proven particularly vulnerable to the impact of the virus: with the elderly being more susceptible to COVID-19, infection rates among residents have been high, leaving  care home providers severely affected not only by cashflow pressures, but also by shortages of both personal protective equipment and qualified staff.

Outlook

Healthcare providers of all kinds may have been forced to rapidly adapt the way they operate – and the way they co-operate with each other  – but this unprecedented situation also presents the sector with a priceless opportunity to ensure that our healthcare systems are operationally and financially resilient enough to face any similar crisis in future.

There’s no doubt that COVID-19 has ramped up the intense pressures facing an already strained healthcare system. However, the end of the pandemic may be some time off and with no silver bullet – let alone a vaccine – currently in sight, the healthcare sector will continue to wrestle with the fallout of the virus for some time to come. 

How we can help

Our healthcare sector team understands this market inside out, enabling us to offer a comprehensive range of advisory services to clients from providers of primary and secondary care, private equity houses or pharmaceutical and equipment suppliers.

We’ve successfully completed a number of transactions across the healthcare services sector and have specific expertise in helping owners, operators and investors meet their long-term objectives.